The symptoms of lung cancer are often different from person to person; some people may never experience symptoms. Most lung cancer symptoms do not appear until the later stages of the lung cancer, when treatment is more difficult. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chance for survival. So if you have any of the following symptoms and signs, see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out a lung cancer diagnosis or get started on a treatment plan1,2.
Lung cancer syndromes
Lung cancer symptoms that appear in very specific groups are called syndromes2. Syndromes associated with lung cancer include Horner syndrome, superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome and paraneoplastic syndromes. Symptoms associated with these syndromes often occur with conditions other than lung cancer. So it is important to see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan when needed.
Some common signs and symptoms of lung cancer are:
- Persistent cough or cough that gets worse ("smoker's cough")
- Chest pain that hurts more when coughing, laughing or breathing
- Hoarse voice
- Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored spit (phlegm)
- Arm or shoulder pain
- Recurring pneumonia or bronchitis
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in neck or face
- Clubbing of fingers (due to swelling)
- Feeling unusually tired or weak
Lung cancer at later stages may have spread to other parts of the body or organs. Signs of lung cancer that has spread may include:
- Bone pain, such as in the back or hips
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin or whites of the eyes)
- Nervous system issues: nerve pain, dizziness, headache, tingling or numbness in arms or legs, trouble with balance, seizures
- Lumps under the skin (swollen lymph nodes) in neck or shoulder area
I have some symptoms of lung cancer. Now what?
It's important to note that these symptoms do not always mean lung cancer, but it never hurts to see a healthcare provider to rule out the cause. Community offers a number of certified MD Anderson Cancer Network® physicians who can help you understand a lung cancer diagnosis and the best way to treat lung cancer. Click below to request an appointment.